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Articles on this Page
- 09/15/17--10:44: _Former Presbyterian...
- 09/15/17--11:10: _BART theater group ...
- 09/15/17--11:33: _Community organizes...
- 09/15/17--12:15: _Former CIA official...
- 09/15/17--12:23: _‘It’s a community g...
- 09/15/17--12:30: _Cops & Goblins retu...
- 09/15/17--12:34: _Town of South Betha...
- 09/15/17--12:36: _Fairway Village res...
- 09/15/17--12:38: _Frankford police pr...
- 09/15/17--09:09: _President Lincoln ‘...
- 09/21/17--13:03: _West Cottage to be ...
- 09/21/17--13:50: _Saturday's Tour de ...
- 09/21/17--13:51: _Indian River band b...
- 09/21/17--13:54: _Dagsboro residents ...
- 09/21/17--14:19: _Brews by the Bay fu...
- 09/21/17--14:21: _County extends CIB ...
- 09/21/17--14:25: _Girl Scout troops h...
- 09/21/17--14:38: _Cierkowski sought i...
- 09/21/17--14:44: _Millville by the Se...
- 09/21/17--14:45: _Recent Millville an...
- 09/15/17--10:44: Former Presbyterian Church building on historic homes tour
- 09/15/17--11:10: BART theater group finds new home, performs Agatha Christie
- 09/15/17--11:33: Community organizes to thank police officers
- 09/15/17--12:15: Former CIA official to offer ‘Inside Story’ at Dickens
- 09/15/17--12:23: ‘It’s a community garden’
- 09/15/17--12:30: Cops & Goblins returning to Ocean View this October
- 09/15/17--12:34: Town of South Bethany, police share paperwork in dispute
- 09/15/17--12:38: Frankford police proposal would more than triple coverage
- 09/15/17--09:09: President Lincoln ‘belongs to the ages’
- 09/21/17--13:03: West Cottage to be featured on historic homes tour
- 09/21/17--13:50: Saturday's Tour de Sussex offers a scenic county bike tour
- 09/21/17--13:51: Indian River band boosters selling discount cards for 2017-2018
- 09/21/17--13:54: Dagsboro residents question developer rental properties
- 09/21/17--14:19: Brews by the Bay fundraiser taking place this weekend
- 09/21/17--14:21: County extends CIB lease for James Farm preserve
- 09/21/17--14:25: Girl Scout troops honoring first-responders this Saturday
- 09/21/17--14:38: Cierkowski sought in lawn-ornament theft investigation
- 09/21/17--14:44: Millville by the Sea residents to expect official traffic survey
- 09/21/17--14:45: Recent Millville annexation fills a gap on Windmill Drive
Above the wicker table in the living room of the c. 1884 Holt Dukes Wadley House is a picture of its early owners, Henry and Jenny (Eunice Jane Short) Holt. Jenny was an avid churchgoer, so Henry bought and moved the old Ocean View Presbyterian Church to their back yard to make room for the current Presbyterian Church sanctuary.
The church joined several outbuildings on the property, including a chicken coop, outhouse, summer kitchen and old barn. Many of the structures were donated to the Lewes Historical Society prior to the Ocean View Historical Society’s formation, but the Holt Dukes Wadley House will be among the historic homes in the area featured on the Ocean View Historical Society’s inaugural Coastal Towns Historic Homes Tour on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Tour goers can walk through the colonial-style home, which tradition has it was the first house in Ocean View to acquire indoor plumbing. Large front and side porches provide spots for current owners George and Nancy Dukes Wadley to “soak in” the Sussex sunshine. The owners described the home’s interior as “early attic,” with no TVs anywhere, so the inside ambience is somewhat true to its post-Civil War origins.
Limited tickets for the Coastal Towns Historic Homes Tour, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 7, are on sale at the Ellen Rice Gallery on Route 26 in Ocean View and at Made By Hand on Route 1 in South Bethany, as well as online at www.ovhistoricalsociety.org. Tickets cost $20 for OVHS members or $30 for non-members. Proceeds will benefit the evolving Coastal Towns Museum and Hall’s Store Visitor & Education Center.
Can you keep a secret? Bethany Area Repertory Theatre (BART) is performing Agatha Christie’s mystery “The Mousetrap” in a new, tucked-away location.
The community theater group has found a new home at Woodsong Country Inn & Retreat, near Frankford.
Having traditionally performed at Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville, BART is bidding the tiny theater a fond farewell to find a larger stage. The Woodsong bed-and-breakfast had room to spare and allows BART to have a summer season.
Performances of “The Mousetrap” will be held on Sept. 21, 22, 23, 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.
Woodsong Country Inn & Retreat is located at 37269 Dirickson Creek Road, Frankford. Performances will be in the left-hand building, beside the main house.
It might be the perfect location for a murder mystery set at a snowed-in guest house — England’s version of a B&B.
“The Mousetrap” drops audiences in the country manor house, where the characters realize there is a murderer in their midst. Suspicious characters hide their secrets and dodge suspicion until the gripping climax, when the culprit is discovered.
And for 65 years, audiences have been asked to keep the thrilling ending a secret.
The show is more of a mystery thriller than BART’s typical shows.
“BART has had a history of doing light comedies, sex farces — that type of thing. So this is a real departure,” said Director Charles McCloskey, adding that he is impressed with the way the cast has stepped up to perform the roles.
There are still plenty of laughs — although it’s a drier, British humor.
“The humor is in the raise of an eyebrow, rather than [pratfalls],” McCloskey said.
Having just moved to coastal Delaware fulltime, McCloskey was asked to direct the classic whodunit, which has been performed continuously in London’s West End since 1952.
McCloskey actually compared the show’s theme to films such as “Alien.”
“There is a confined place from which you cannot escape … and the question is, ‘What do you do?’” he said. “People are dying, and we don’t know why.”
Throughout the play, lead character Mollie is the schoolteacher-turned-innkeeper who just inherited the manor house and is trying to build a business, while keeping her guests alive.
“The thing that I really like about Mollie is — especially in the time of this show [the 1950s] — she’s definitely a woman beyond her years, both in how she works in business and leads that effort and is just not afraid to speak her mind. … It’s a fun role for sure. This is not a normal type of role for me, so I’m enjoying it,” said Lisa Condon, who plays Mollie. “Everyone else around her is a whirling dervish, and she’s just a normal one through all of this.”
“The big moment is the reveal,” McCloskey said. “I think the audiences will be amused by that because, in general, Miss Christie did a good job of hiding the evil person in the first … three-quarters of the show.”
A new countryside venue
Woodsong Country Inn rests on a quiet back road, around the corner from the Assawoman Wildlife Area and Camp Barnes, near Ocean View and Roxana.
“It’s such a beautiful location. It’s off the beaten path,” said Condon, who does marketing for Woodsong and helped build the BART partnership. “It gives them a location [where] they can be all throughout rehearsals. They can build their own sets for the first time and have that fuller creative vision.”
BART had a great run at Dickens Parlour Theatre, said playwright Bob Davis.
“It was wonderful, and it built BART from nothing in four-and-a-half years to a really nice, solid little community theater,” Davis said. “I’m really happy because it’s a dream fulfilled.”
But it was tough to rehearse off-site, and to pack up sets in between magic performances there.
“We have a really nice following now, and we hope people follow us down there” to Woodsong, Davis said. “We’re hoping it becomes a permanent home.”
Meanwhile, Woodsong fulfills its own dream of becoming an event location.
“It brings more creative life to the property on an ongoing basis,” Condon said.
Shows will be performed with lounge-style seating at round tables.
“They can have a drink and have food while they’re watching … so it just gives it a more comfy, relaxed atmosphere,” Condon said.
Audiences should bring cash to purchase snacks, beer, wine or other beverages.
Tickets for “The Moustrap” cost $25 each. After expenses, remaining funds are donated as college scholarships for local arts students. For Bethany Area Repertory Theatre (BART) tickets or show information, visit www.BARTinBethany.com, or call (302) 278-9227.
While many may only encounter police officers when they’ve been speeding or have a taillight out, one organization is asking the public to recognize the dangers of policing and take the time this weekend to thank their local law-enforcement officers.
“From my standpoint, you go to work, I go to work — neither one of us is doing jobs where we may get shot at, where we may get yelled at, where we may get disrespected at,” said Andrea Baumann, a Sussex County resident overseeing Thank A Police Officer Day on Delmarva.
“They work a lot of hours, they see a lot of things, and then … they still have to, at the end of the day, after handling some horrific things that most of us would have nightmares about, be a normal person — husband, wife, father or mother — to their own families… I feel even just making a small gesture is acknowledging what they do, and maybe silently saying, ‘Thank you. We appreciate what you do out there,’ can make a difference.”
This Saturday, Sept. 16, is National Thank A Police Officer Day, created in 2012 by the Whole Truth Project, an organization “dedicated to protecting innocent police officers, wrongfully accused of police misconduct in wrongful conviction lawsuits and other civil rights cases.”
Baumann became involved in the event in 2013 and has been heavily involved ever since.
“I visited one police department my first year. In the last three years, we’ve had a number of people — several hundred volunteers — get involved and sign up to adopt their local departments.
“In Dagsboro, we had the same family adopt the Dagsboro Police Department as last year. They set up a table for the police department, and people stop by and sign the card. They put together goodie baskets for each officer, and the officers are there and the community can meet them. I just think it’s neat.”
For the Delmarva group, various teams sign up to cover departments or geographic regions and organize various ways to show their support — and thanks.
“People do everything from making cards and banners to bringing in classes of kids to sing for the police officers,” she said. “The Delaware Patriot Guard in northern Delaware is doing coffee and doughnuts for three different departments. I have another group of people doing pizzas… Everybody does what they would like to put together for their local department. It varies from person to person. We don’t have any set protocol. The goal is just to get the community involved in recognizing and appreciating our officers.”
The Ocean View Police Department, which had individuals visit them at their police station last year to recognize the day, said it is always nice to hear from the community.
“Especially today, it’s just nice to know that there are people out there, that the public is out there. We may not always see them or hear them, but the vast majority of the public support the police,” said OVPD Sgt. Rhys Bradshaw.
OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin said the department is fortunate that they are thanked throughout the year by many community members.
“Just today, we were here and someone came in with a fig cake for us. We’re lucky. We do get showered with food!”
McLaughlin said that, aside from baked goods, the department also receives pictures colored by local school kids, and even cards, which they then post on the department’s bulletin board for all to see.
One such card was recently sent to the department by builder Bruce Mears and reads, “Even though I don’t live in Ocean View town limits, I appreciate everything OVPD does for our community. Thank you for your efforts to control drugs and crime!”
“When I’m running radar or writing reports or stopping into Royal Farms, I’ll have people stop and thank me for my service,” said Bradshaw. “I could be having the worst day in the world, but just one person coming up and saying, ‘Thank you for what you do’ — that just makes my day and makes everything better.”
“We’re very blessed here,” reflected McLaughlin. “In other places, cops can get cynical and feel there’s an ‘us-against-them’ mentality. Down here, in this area, anyway, we’re fortunate in the fact that the attitude is, ‘These are our friends. We want to help them and do whatever we can.’ It takes it into a different realm. Instead of just being a job, it makes it a whole lot more personal.”
The two also noted that one doesn’t have to travel too far before seeing a blue porch light or thin-blue-line decal on the back of a car.
“It’s nice,” said McLaughlin. “In this area, we’re extremely lucky.”
“It’s a brotherhood between officers and citizen,” added Bradshaw. “When we see that, it means those people support us and we have a friend in the community.”
Baumann, who has a thin-blue-line sticker on her car, said it amazes her that something so small can make such a difference.
“Here I am, an ordinary person, just putting a sticker on my car, and they’re thanking me. That’s kind of humbling…”
Last year, Baumann’s organization helped thank more than 70 departments across Delmarva, and she said she hopes they will be able to do that with the same number, if not more, this Saturday.
“At the end of the day, when we’re in trouble, we all go and call the same phone number.”
‘Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.’
— Albus Dumbledore, in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,’ by J. K. Rowling
Starting Thursday, Sept. 21, the magic of words — in the form of a brand new lectures series — will take center stage at the Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville.
The first speaker in the series will be John E. McLaughlin, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and currently a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). McLaughlin is also an international affairs analyst for MSNBC.
McLaughlin’s talk will be titled “Five National Security Issues to Watch.” Drawing on his 30-year intelligence career, during which he served in nearly every part of the world, as well as his service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, his remarks will touch on international terrorism and other topics of interest.
During his CIA service, McLaughlin supervised work on intelligence analysis, clandestine operations and technology. He has received numerous awards, including the National Security Medal, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
McLaughlin has frequently briefed the president and the Congress, represented the intelligence community in meetings of the National Security Council, and worked throughout the world in efforts to strengthen U.S. relations with national security counterparts in numerous countries.
In early 2010, Mr. McLaughlin led, at the request of the director of National Intelligence, a study of the failed terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines flight at Christmas in 2009 and developed a series of recommendations for improving intelligence collection and analysis on terrorist plans. He also chairs the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, which supports CIA families who have lost a parent in the line of duty.
In addition to all of that, Dickens owner Richard Bloch said, McLaughlin should feel at home at the Millville theater, as he is also “very accomplished magician” whose code name in the intelligence community was “Merlin.”
The larger series will include eight other speakers and will generally be held on the third Thursday of each month, Bloch said. Other planned speakers include Piper Laurie, three-time Academy Award nominated actress; and Ralph Begleiter, former CNN newsman and University of Delaware professor. Topics addressed by the speakers will range from memory loss to Irish music, Bloch said.
Each appearance will include a 40- to 50-minute lecture, followed by a “meet-and-greet” with the speaker in the parlor at the Dickens venue.
“The Inside Story” is the theme for the series, which Bloch said sums up the intent for the program: to offer an insider’s look at a variety of topics. Bloch added that he is grateful to the Coastal Point for its sponsorship of the program.
Coastal Point publisher Susan Lyons said, “The Coastal Point is proud to be a sponsor of ‘The Inside Story’ hosted by Dickens Parlour Theatre. Rich Bloch has put together diverse speakers for this new series, with exceptional backgrounds, to expand our knowledge and to improve our critical-thinking skills.”
The Sept. 21 lecture will begin at 7 p.m. The lectures are free and open to the public. Reservations are necessary, however, since seating is limited. For more information or to make reservations, call the box office at the Dickens Parlour Theatre at (302) 829-1071 or go to the theater’s website at www.dptmagic.com. The theater is located at 35715 Atlantic Avenue, Millville.
How does a soybean field become a world-class garden? One plant at a time.
Although work has continued quietly at Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek for a few years, this week was especially noteworthy, as volunteers planted the first part of the gardens’ meadowlands, designed by world-renowned designer Piet Oudolf.
“It was a huge operation. We have had about 50 volunteers. They came from everywhere … from Boston to Tennessee,” said Executive Director Sheryl Swed. “When Piet comes, he takes a look to see if it’s perfect, or he does tweaking.”
Just outside Dagsboro, some onlookers thrilled to see the Dutch designer pick up a rake to help shape the grass mounds. Others begged an autograph or two.
“My idea was to make a perennial meadow with the use of many natives, but in my own way. I have a very impressionistic style,” Oudolf said while examining the grounds.
The 1.5-acre meadow is a controlled mass of plants, shaped rather like a figure 8 or an ampersand. The thick pathways curve through the meadow, the plants clearly delineated from the walkway.
“The whole layout is so that people can meander and walk through the garden,” Oudolf said. “Every turn is a different perspective. … You want people to feel like they discovered something.”
All the 17,000 plants are snugly packed, sometimes grouped with their own species and sometimes sprinkled among many species. He included two large grassy mounds “so people can sit on it. From the top there, you’ll be able to see the whole meadow.”
This section of the garden needs longer to grow, and the DBG will likely plant the rest next summer. The meadow will eventually contain more than 65,000 plants.
Even the board members who have undertaken such a bold project said they were amazed to see the former soybean field sculpted into a meadow garden. The meadow is still blocked from immediate view from the road.
“Maybe you don’t see it yet. But it’s going to happen,” Oudolf said.
“I work with seasons and texture,” he noted, so the meadow will change year-round, from blossoms and flowers to decay and winter’s floral skeletons. “Every week you come, the color is very different. The change is most interesting.”
About 85 percent of the 54 plant species are native, which means more food and habitat, but less maintenance.
Does anyone still think that native plants are boring?
“Oh, wait ’til you see what Piet does with them,” Tepper added with a laugh. “Piet is iconic for the block designs like this.”
The 37-acre public garden near Dagsboro is expected to open in 2019. Eventually, the meadow will stand beside a pond, pavilion, wedding/event area and woodlands that lead to Pepper Creek.
Volunteers learn some tips and make a mark
Volunteers have made this happen, from the executive board to the citizens digging in the ground.
“Personally, I wanted to leave my mark on the first botanic garden on the Eastern Shore. … Hopefully, it will encourage more people to come,” said Jan Poli, former owner of a Manhattan shop called The Secret Garden.
“I feel like these are my children,” she said with a laugh among the new plants. “I feel very blessed” to be here.
Indeed, Roy Diblik compared gardening to parenting. and Oudolf brought him to physically layout the garden, from paper to ground. After he marked the boundaries for each planting, volunteers planted each of the 17,000 young plants.
“It’s a community garden,” said Karen Dudley, a member of the Barefoot Gardeners club. “It’s a community that’s building this garden.”
This was a learning experience, even for — or, in some cases, especially for — local garden clubs. Volunteers learned to “fluff” the plant roots while putting them in new soil, and not to tamp down on the soil afterward.
Eventually, the volunteers reluctantly paused for lunch. But so did the insects.
Bees were already dipping into the low flowers for a midday meal.
“The butterflies have found it. We saw a monarch zipping by” as soon as the plants were unloaded from the trucks, said volunteer Amy Cornelius.
“The whole garden will have exotics, [but] I want to make sure it can be a habitat,” said Greg Tepper, DBG director of horticulture. “I define beauty as not only aesthetics but the ability to support life.”
His focus has been clearing and planting the woodlands to create “a place where people go to heal.” He envisions a staff of “stewards” — not just gardeners — who will engage with visitors for one-on-one teaching moments, even while working.
The public can still help by contributing donations, becoming members or volunteering. Donations may be made online at www.delawaregardens.org or by check mailed to Delaware Botanic Gardens; P.O. Box 1390; Ocean View, DE 19970. Southern Delaware Botanic Gardens Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The garden site is located on Piney Neck Road, about 1.5 miles from Main Street in Dagsboro.
Three years ago, the Ocean View Police Department took a seed of an idea and created the community-oriented Halloween event known as Cops & Goblins.
“Chief came to me one day a few years ago and said, ‘Rhys, I have an idea,’” recalled Sgt. Rhys Bradshaw. “‘I’ve been thinking about creating a Halloween event — something free for the kids in the community.’
“Where I grew up in New Jersey, Halloween was an event. We went out and trick-or-treated all through the neighborhoods. You don’t see that much around here,” Bradshaw said.
The free event hosts families in Ocean View’s John West Park for a few hours, offering families a safe environment for trick-or-treating while having positive interactions with local law-enforcement officers.
Cops & Goblins will be held, rain or shine, on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 4 p.m. this year.
It will feature free food from Papa John’s, Hocker’s, Taco Taco and Rita’s water ice. Parsons Farms will return this year with their petting zoo, and Barn Hill Preserve will be on hand for kids to get an up-close look at some unusual critters.
The Delaware State Police Mounted Unit will be in attendance, and the OVPD’s own K-9 officer Hardy will give a demonstration that afternoon.
Kids can enjoy blow-up rides and mechanical games — all totally free of charge. A D.J. will help add ambiance, and a costume contest for Best Cop, Best Goblin and Best Overall Costume will be conducted.
There will also be a backdrop of the Cops & Goblins poster — featuring the moon, a trick-or-treater and a police officer — set up with a cutout police car with which families may take photos.
Area businesses are also being invited to set up a table at the event and hand out candy to kids in attendance. Businesses that wish to participate are being encouraged to contact Bradshaw at the police department for more details. He added that they’re always looking for people to volunteer their time to help with set up and breakdown, and throughout the event.
Donations of non-soda beverages are also welcome, so that families can enjoy water or juice with their free meal, provided free of charge by area restaurateurs.
“We just want to put on a nice little community event that’s safe for the kids.”
New this year, a group called Legion will attend, dressing up as familiar Star Wars characters.
“I specifically requested Chewbacca, so we’ll see if he shows up,” Bradshaw noted with a laugh.
Local law-enforcement agencies from Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick, Selbyville and Dagsboro have also been invited to attend the event and interact with those in attendance.
“We invite all departments in the area,” said Bradshaw. “We just say, ‘Come, bring a car and mingle with the kids.’
“It’s amazing just being with the kids, talking to them for a couple minutes and seeing how happy they are. You let them sit in your car and play with the lights a little bit… It just makes their day.”
Throughout the school year, OVPD officers go to Lord Baltimore Elementary School daily to visit students.
“We like to go to LB and see the kids. We stop in classrooms and talk to the kids. Young kids, we’ll read them a story — just anything we can do to get out in the community and be a part of it so they can see us in different roles other than sitting out there running radar. We like to be involved in community events as much as possible,” he said, adding that officers within the department also serve as mentors to some of the school’s students.
Community policing is a big focus for the department, said Bradshaw. The local officers want to have a positive relationship with all residents, from children to seniors.
“I think it’s important for the kids to get out there, see and meet the police officers in that environment, instead of just when they see us for bad reasons,” he said. “We want people to know us. I want to be able to walk into a store and have the owner say, ‘Hey, Rhys — how are you doing?’ We want to be a part of this community, and I think it’s important for people to see us as part of this community… We’re here to help you. We’re not just here to arrest you or write you a ticket. We’re here to help you.”
Bradshaw said last year’s event was wildly successful, and he hopes this year will be just as well-received.
“I think it’s turned out great the past two years and am excited to see how it turns out this year. Last year, the response from the people has been overwhelming,” he said. “Everyone really enjoyed themselves. It’s only been two years and already it’s been so great, such a great community program that I hope it continues to get better year after year.”
For more information regarding the event, visit https:www.facebook.com/OVPD936 or http://www.oceanviewde.com. Businesses that wish to participate as a business vendor or make a donation may contact Bradshaw at the police department by calling (302) 539-1111.
After the Town of South Bethany rejected claims from some its police officers of unfair pay and promotion practices, both sides have now released legal paperwork in the matter.
Of the SBPD’s 10 employees, the six fulltime officers sent a June 30 demand letter, centered around lack of holiday pay for all officers, as well as promotions and pension issues for some. They demanded $66,861 in all, plus reasonable attorney fees. That includes $40,011 for holiday pay; two promotions; and about $26,850 and two promotions for certain officers; and three years of pension for one.
The police officers have not indicated what their next step will be, although their demand letter threatened further legal action.
The police are being represented by John LaRosa of LaRosa & Associates, who threatened to file suit in U.S. District Court, “as I recently did on behalf of police officers and against the City of Rehoboth Beach and its mayor in a similar case.”
Meanwhile, South Bethany Mayor Pat Voveris said she was just glad to have the issue out in the open, as the town council has remained close-lipped on the subject, except to say they found “no merit” to the police officers’ claims.
“I think our response was well done. I’m glad to have had that word on the street,” Voveris said. “We, if anything, are employee advocates.”
The Town has hired human-resources attorney Peter Frattarelli of Archer Attorneys at Law.
Holiday pay on the way
The police alleged that they have not been paid correctly for holidays off (which earns regular pay) or for working holidays (which earns double pay). That includes the six fulltime officers (Sgt. Alfred “Lee” Davis, Cpl. Mark Burton, Cpl. Patrick Wiley, Cpl. John Jenney, PFC Nate Hudson and Ptlm. Megan Loulou).
After receiving some complaints this spring, the council agreed to compensate police staff up to two years of back pay for working holidays, which averaged about $1,760 for those six officers.
“Despite the debatable nature of the claims, the Town paid them additional sums to cover those holidays worked (although some of your clients refused to pick up those checks),” Frattarelli wrote.
Perhaps more importantly, the step chart was updated in 2008 to include holidays in police salaries, according to an internal chart.
“Pay for twelve holidays is incorporated into the salary levels for all members of the Police Department. Thus, your clients have been paid in full for all holidays they have not worked,” Frattarelli wrote.
However, the police officers have said they weren’t aware that holiday pay was built into their salary when they took the job. The policies should have been updated, and the town council paid two years’ back pay to make up for it. But, ultimately, Frattarelli said the step chart supersedes the older policy.
Payments and pensions
Police can receive “Step-in-grade advancements as a reward for continuing education and satisfactory performance … [which] is achieved every two years … and includes a 2 percent raise with each step … in addition to the regular annual raise.” They can also advance to a higher rank, or grade.
The police said Loulou and Davis are both entitled to pay raises and promotions this April, but were denied them. LaRosa suggested that decision was made unilaterally by Voveris, not the town council, although the Town did not respond to that assertion.
In 2014, there were two lieutenants and one chief in the SBPD. After some retirements and promotions, then-Lt. Troy Crowson became chief, but the two lieutenant positions were left vacant. But the SBPD still needed a second-in-command, so Davis performed those duties without receiving the title or major pay raises.
Because he was promoted to sergeant in October of 2015, the Town said he’s not yet eligible for the two-year increases, although his base pay has increased in the last few years.
“While it may be true that Sgt. Davis has taken on additional duties as a second-in-command officer, that does not grant him an automatic promotion to the rank of lieutenant” which requires council approval, Frattarelli said, and Town policies say that officers can be assigned extra duties without receiving additional compensation. Additionally, the Town argued that there are steps, plus four other grades for him to advance to.
Similarly, the officers said they felt that Loulou was entitled to a promotion to patrolman first-class, since “It has been the policy, custom, and practice of the Town that all officers have been promoted to Patrolman First Class after two years in the rank of Patrolman,” which the officers said occurred in May 2017. But the Town said she had not reached the two-year mark yet either. She did receive pay increases over the years, though.
“The Town has no statutory obligation to create new, more senior-level positions simply because an officer has passed a qualification threshold,” the Town wrote. “If everyone was entitled to automatic promotions upon reaching minimum qualifications, the Town could end up with a force consisting of a Chief of Police and 6 members of equal rank.”
Pension disputes also arose for Davis, who said he believes he was owed another three years’ worth of credit. But the Town suggested this was incorrectly based on rumor. When the Town purchased pension plans for employees, police were offered seven years’ credit, while regular Town employees received five years’ worth. Frattarelli suggested Davis was mistaken in his belief that other Town employees had received 10 years’ worth of pension.
Although some people have complained that the Town hired Frattarelli before the town council’s public vote to do so, Voveris said that action was legal. South Bethany already has a budget for legal costs, which only requires a vote to change. They wanted to be transparent for the public, but don’t need a vote to hire an attorney, she said.
the police policies
In the past few months, many citizens have praised the police department, both verbally at town council meetings and visually, with yard signs around town.
They’ve also shared displeasure at rumors of possible outsourcing. As a group, the town council has not discussed outsourcing of police duties. The item has not appeared on an agenda for public meeting. As of late August, Voveris also said she had had no discussion with other nearby police departments about possible outsourcing.
Instead, the council hired an outside agency for $8,000 to review the police department operation, policies and procedures.
Councilman Tim Saxton said that has been a long time coming, not just the result of recent disagreements. There are multiple conflicts within the policies and procedures, which ICMA Center for Public Safety Management (ICMA/CPSM) will help the Town identify and fix.
The contract is being finalized for what exactly ICMA/CPSM will provide to the Town. The scope of the project just increased, as the council just approved another $9,500 to continue.
“In our first authorization, it just got them working and looking at the job and understanding the nature of the work,” said Saxton.
“This issue has been going on for several councils. This has nothing to do with the demand letter,” Saxton said. “The major goals in this are to make sure we have good policies … that don’t conflict.”
Some citizens said they didn’t like spending extra money, but others said they approved of the expense if it would bring more cohesiveness to the policies.
The goals of that contract will be made public. The work is expected to be completed by Oct. 31. Voveris would not confirm that the report itself will be made public, unless the Town gets approval from its attorney. But any policy changes must be approved publically by the town council.
Ocean View Town Hall on Tuesday evening was packed with Fairway Village residents who had attended the town council meeting that night to voice their concerns about the community’s developer.
With standing-room-only spilling into the building’s foyer, more than 40 residents attended wearing “Fairway Village Homeowner” stickers and protesting the legality of the development company renting out properties that it owns within the community.
Fairway Village property owner Lisa Leary, a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, said the entity Fairway Cap LLC has maintained ownership of five townhomes in Fairway Village. Leary opined that the developer maintaining ownership within the community created a for-profit commercial enterprise.
The townhouses were listed as rental apartments online, advertised as being located in the “Reserves at Fairway Village.”
“We homeowners learned of this for-profit commercial rental enterprise [FPCRE] by accident — not by notice from the developer or the Town — but rather via advertised on social media and the web for a rental apartment complex initially called The Reserves at Fairway Village, featuring the interior of 108 Augusta as a sample rental apartment.
“This FPCRE violates the FV Community Constitution and founding declarations. It also violates the laws of the Town of Ocean View and the State of Delaware, including the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act,” she said.
Leary said the homeowners have legal standing to question the developer’s action.
“While our community documents allow individual owners to rent our homes and units, the developer cannot corrupt the community documents to unilaterally benefit itself at the expense of the entire community. By commencing such a rental scheme, the developer has engaged in self-dealing solely for profit and has thus breached the fiduciary duty it owes by law to all owners at Fairway Village.”
Saying she believed that the developer’s actions violate Delaware law and the development’s documents, Leary argued that the situation would “effectively allow the developer to control this community in perpetuity.”
“In either instance, it also prevents the developer from turning over control of the community to all owners within the designated timeframe, in violation of Delaware law and our community documents. Under our community documents, the developer’s authority continues until the later of either 20 years after recording the community documents (which took place in 2008) or until the developer does not own any portion of Fairway Village.”
Leary, speaking for the group assembled, requested that the Town of “Ocean View immediately definitively shut down and prohibit the developer’s existing for profit commercial rental enterprise from forever operating on the premises of Fairway Village, and confirm same in writing as notice for the benefit of homeowners.”
Town meets with
developer over concerns
Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran told the crowd that, upon being apprised of the issue, the Town took immediate action to investigate their concerns.
“A few weeks ago the town manager [Dianne Vogel] and I began receiving complaints from residents of the Fairway Village community regarding alleged name changes to the community and renting of townhomes by the developer.
“We investigated and discovered the developer, on at least two websites that we know of, advertised the renting of ‘apartments’ in the Reserve of Fairway Village — an entity that doesn’t legally exist within this town,” Curran noted.
“Since apartments are not allowed under the approved building plan, and a name change requires the developer to come before the Town’s planning and zoning board, and ultimately the town council, to receive approval, I instructed the town administrative official [Charles McMullen] to reach out to the developer and inquire as to what exactly is going on — what is their plans.
“At that same time,” Curran said, McMullen “advised them they were not allowed to create apartments or change the name without the approval of the Town.”
Curran said property owners within the community also told the Town the developer was subleasing individual rooms within townhomes and was intending to set up a rental office on-site, “which is in violation of the current Town approvals.”
“I issued instruction to the town administrative official to temporarily cease issuing building permits and certificates of occupancy, as well as to cease issuing residential rental licensing to the developer. At the same time, we reached out to the developer and requested they meet with the Town to discuss these issues.”
On Monday morning, Curran, Vogel and Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader had a conversation regarding the issues with representatives of Fairway Cap, Bill Krapf and Louis Capano.
“We had a full and frank discussion of these matters,” said Curran. “Before I relate the details of that meeting, it is important that everyone here understand that, while the Town can be sympathetic to your issues, we are limited in what our responses can be. We are a Town, a structured entity, and we have rules to go by.”
Curran had gone on to ask the two men a number of questions regarding the development.
“Why did you change the name of the development and advertise?”
“It was just advertising,” they had replied. “We didn’t realize we needed to get approval from the Town. We thought the homeowners would rather be identified separately from the rented townhouses. We will cease calling them apartments. They are not; they are townhomes. We will cease calling them by the name the Reserves at Fairway Village.”
Curran reported that the two men said it is their plan to maintain permanent control of the HOA via majority votes.
“As the largest property owner, we have the most to lose if the property devalues,” they said, adding that there would be a process to appoint homeowners to the board.
Currently, the developer is in the process of constructing a number of townhomes within the community.
“Do you intend to ever sell those 70 townhomes or maintain them in perpetuity as rental units?” Curran had asked.
“They will retain in perpetuity as rental units. They weren’t selling in the market, and we want to build them quickly and get them into the rental market.’”
Krapf and Capano told the Town they would pay into the HOA for maintenance and common areas, even though it is not required by the HOA covenants. They added that subleasing or the rental of individual rooms would not be allowed, as they plan to have all annual rentals.
When Curran asked the men if they would be willing to put that in writing to both the homeowners and the Town, the response was, “We would, but as the largest owner in the development, we won’t be excluded from our rights.”
Curran said he went on to ask what was meant by that statement.
“‘In other words, whatever limitations there would be on our right to rent would apply to all homeowners,’” Curran said he was told. “What he’s saying is he’s willing to abide by the rules, but then everybody else has to, too.”
Krapf and Capano told the Town they did not know that special approval was needed for an on-site rental manager, and that they would be applying for such an approval, “as we believe it’s in the best interest of the tenants and the homeowners if we got someone on-site to deal with issues as they arise.”
Town bows out of
dispute, urges direct
Curran said town officials strongly recommended the developer communicate directly with the homeowners, and do so quickly and face-to-face.
“They said they are sending out a letter to homeowners and will meet with you in a few weeks.”
Curran, speaking to the homeowners in attendance at Tuesday night’s meeting, said he, as the mayor of Ocean View, has the authority to demand developers live up to their commitments to the Town.
“I will strictly enforce that authority,” he said, noting that he temporarily suspended the issuance of permits and licenses because “we had proof of actions that were inconsistent with the approved plan. … Those issues essentially now have been addressed.”
He added that, as of that evening, the developers were delinquent with property taxes for those undeveloped lots.
“The minute that check arrives and clears, we have no choice but to allow them to recommence the process of issuing licenses and permits.”
Curran encouraged the property owners to contact attorneys, as they could have a case against the developer.
“I have no idea how that would end up, and the Town, quite frankly, cannot take part in that fight. This is not a Town legal matter. This may be a moral and ethical issue, but it’s not a Town legal matter.”
Leary said she believes the developer is running a for-profit commercial enterprise through the renting of the properties. Curran said that, under Town ordinances, the developer has every right to rent the units they own, just as every homeowner within the community has the right to rent their homes.
“There is no difference, other than scale,” he said.
Property owner Hal Solomon noted that, in its process of reviewing applications made by the developer, the Town reviews its legal documents, including its constitution and covenant with homeowners.
Curran said the documents are reviewed by the Town solicitor; however, they are reviewed for specific reasons, such as ensuring the long-term maintenance cost of streets would be addressed.
“You don’t regulate homeowners’ associations?”
“No, we do not,” said Curran.
Homeowner Liz Reynolds voiced her disapproval of the Town’s response to the residents’ concerns.
“This was supposed to be my forever home,” she said, noting that she had moved to the area from Pennsylvania two years ago. “I come from a county and a state that backs their people… You need to support us… What more needs to be done to one community before our representatives back us as individuals, except saying, ‘Hire a lawyer.’? I can get us a lawyer. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about the fact that we’ve respectfully come to you and you’re turning your backs. That’s how I feel.”
“I’m not saying it’s fair at all. I’m saying it’s factual,” responded Curran. “Whatever violations, perceived or real, on the HOA side are now at this point solely HOA issues. You are all individual signers of private contracts with that company. That is a private-enterprise deal this Town cannot get into. We cannot… We are a town. We have rules. We have limits to what we can do.”
He added that, while Fairway Village may be a large community within the Town, it is one of many communities within the Town and it would not be right for the council to allow taxpayer money to pay for the legal battle of one community.
Developers’ construction hours also a concern
Reynolds also complained that the developer has construction at all hours, seven days a week.
McMullen said construction hours in the town are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. There is no work permitted by private contractors on Sundays.
He recommended that if those in communities have issues with contractors working beyond those hours, they should contact him. Or, if it is after-hours, they simply need to contact the police department, who will take the appropriate action.
“I, for one, applaud the police department and want them to come help me when I have a robbery, not when someone is working when they’re not supposed to be,” said Reynolds. “That’s a waste of the police time.”
McMullen said he would speak the following morning with the developer regarding construction hours, but pointed out that the police department is empowered and charged with enforcing town code, which includes construction hours.
Homeowner Ed Leary voiced his upset with the situation, noting that his family relocated to Ocean View because they believed it would be a good place to live.
“Many of us here — our life’s work is in Ocean View and in Fairway Village. All of us in good faith came to Ocean View and decided it would be a good place to live. We met in good faith with builders... And we made a decision based on the fact that our life’s work would be in Fairway Village. This is what we thought.
“This builder knows good and well that the original intent of Fairway Village was single-family and homeowner-owned homes. If we would’ve known for one minute that this was going to be a rental community, this room wouldn’t be filled today. That’s not what we bought into.”
“We are enforcing everything we are legally empowered to enforce,” responded Curran. “We cannot go after someone because we don’t like the way they do business.”
Homeowner Al Banister insinuated that the Town could take more action but was choosing not to, as they receive gross rental receipts tax from rental units within town limits.
“I disagree with you,” replied Curran “We collect equally from everybody who rents. The fact that this pops up now and irritates everybody in this room doesn’t make it that we are conspirators in this. We have done everything we can to stop it in its tracks, and now we’ve hit the wall. Now it’s up to you to try and find other ways to stop it, if you choose to.”
Curran noted that the development was brought before the Town in the early 2000s; however, the original developer went into foreclosure, which is how Fairway Cap came into ownership of the development.
The Town wrapped up the public discussion, stating that a representative from Fairway Cap was in attendance and was willing to field homeowners’ questions following the meeting.
If Frankford and Dagsboro unify their police departments, Frankford residents could pay more than $200 per year in additional town taxes, beyond what they currently pay, according to figures presented at an informational meeting in the Frankford fire hall on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
Under the current proposal, the unified police department would grow from Dagsboro’s current four officers to six total, with all officers reporting to Dagsboro’s current police chief, Floyd Toomey. Frankford has been relying on Delaware State Police coverage since the departure of former police chief Mark Hudson in July.
Toomey, who joined Frankford Town Council members at the meeting, said the new force would not be a merger, in that both towns would retain their own departments. He later explained that such a move would allow each town to separately apply for grants that help maintain certain programs within the police department.
All six officers, however, would wear the same uniforms, patrol cars would be similarly marked, and ranks within the department would be consistent. Frankford would go from the 40 hours per week of coverage it had with its former police chief to a minimum of 20 hours per day under the proposed unification — 3.5 times the prior amount of coverage.
The proposed move would cost Frankford an estimated $121,406 in salaries, insurance and pensions for two officers, not including fuel for patrol cars, maintenance, uniforms and other associated costs of operation, according to figures provided by Toomey.
Frankford routinely receives $40,000 per year in federal, state and county grant funding for its police department, with all but the $25,000 it receives from Sussex County earmarked for specific programs.
The proposed unification with Dagsboro would come with a minimum three-year contract between the towns. A police commission would be formed, consisting of the police chief and the mayors of both towns, Toomey said.
Toomey said there had thus far this year been 219 complaints from Frankford residents requiring police response, through Hudson’s departure July 21, but that he didn’t have complaint figures for the period since then.
He said he would expect the number of complaints to increase if the towns unify their departments, not decrease, at least initially “because they’re not waiting an hour — they’re waiting five or 10 minutes. They’re going to be more apt to call an officer,” he said. “They’re going to eliminate those nuisances, where the residents currently just suck it up.”
Resident Liz Carpenter said, “I’m excited to hear about this collaboration,” adding that she is concerned about vandalism to businesses that occurred over the summer, as well as drug problems and a speeding issue on Frankford Avenue.
“I’ve heard there’s a large heroin problem, and I don’t want that to get worse,” Carpenter said. “It’s good to hear that there’s that much coverage potentially coming,” she said.
Fewer than 20 residents attended the meeting.
Town Councilman and Council Treasurer Marty Presley said “the elephant in the room” is the estimated $215 to $220 property tax increase per Frankford household that would be needed to fund the proposed combined police force.
“It is not an insignificant issue,” Presley said, adding that the Town’s ongoing income prospects are somewhat unknown, due largely to issues regarding the status of the Mountaire plant’s new well and how much revenue the Town will now be receiving from the plant’s water supply.
Presley, who will meet with a panel this week to go over the Town’s status as to its police department, said, “We’re on a clock” as far as the police department goes. “If we don’t have a solution by December, we’ll lose funding.”
Toomey said he understands the Town’s challenges.
“I know it’s a struggle. It really is,” he said. He added, however, that “what you’re looking at here is an opportunity that you’re not going to get very often.”
He said that while, technically, Dagsboro pays for four officers and Frankford would pay for two, he would place officers “where needed,” based on activity in the towns on a given day. He said he would expect officers patrolling Frankford to “hit every street” at least once a day, just as his current officers do in Dagsboro.
“Right now, you probably have jurisdictions that haven’t been seen by an officer in years,” he said, as town council members nodded in agreement.
Resident Robbie Murray expressed concerns over several financial aspects of the proposed merger.
“I could see Dagsboro asking (Frankford) for a third of the police chief’s salary,” since the chief would oversee all the officers in the unified departments. Murray said that, before the proposal moves forward, he “would like to see from the Town of Frankford more concrete numbers” on just how much the move would cost its residents.
A similar meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Dagsboro fire hall. See the Sept. 22 edition of the Coastal Point for coverage of that meeting.
The life of Abraham Lincoln has been one of the world’s most popular subjects for authors since his death in 1865. Estimates place the number of books written about this U.S. president at more than 15,000.
In addition to these biographies, Lincoln’s correspondence, written over a period of 41 years beginning in 1824, can be found in “The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln,” edited by Roy P. Basler and published in eight volumes. “Old Abe’s” presidential style and outlook during the midst of the war between the Northern and Southern states is reflected in these letters and documents.
Using Sept. 15, 1863, as an example, a review of Lincoln’s written communications provides a glimpse into the daily life of a president during wartime. His concerns included critical political issues and the outcome of ongoing military operations, as well as decisions dealing with the lives of individual citizens.
His initial thought that day was to write a thank-you note to James G. Blaine “for the good news you send, and the sending of it.” Blaine, chairman of the Maine Union Committee, had written to Lincoln about the results of the recent state elections “that sustains your administration by a majority of 15,000 [votes] … [e]lected every Senator … [and] seven-eighths of the Representatives.”
Lincoln’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humor came into play after receiving a recommendation from two Washington lawyers to have Brig. Gen. Robert Allen fill the Union army quartermaster general’s position, which the New York Times erroneously reported to be vacant. The president’s response: “What nation do you desire Gen. Allen to be made Quarter-Master-General of? This nation already has a Quarter-Master-General” in the person of Maj. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs.
President Lincoln put on his commander-in-chief’s hat in a message to Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck, directing him to respond to a request from Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, for guidance in confronting the Rebel army under Gen. Robert E. Lee’s command operating in the vicinity of Fredericksburg, Va.
Although hesitant to get directly involved in military decisions, Lincoln conveyed to Halleck this sound advice, “My opinion is that he should move upon Lee … to develop Lee’s real condition and purposes… [then decide] whether [to] make it a real attack.”
Lincoln took a major leap into the area of jurisprudence when on that date he signed an Act of Congress that suspended the writ of habeas corpus, essentially allowing the government to arrest and imprison without a trial anyone who was believed to be undermining the constitution. In a lengthy defense of the Act, the president reasoned that it was far more important during wartime for him to have this power than in times of peace and tranquility.
The 15th of September had already been a busy day, yet the president issued a number of instructions to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The first had to do with a Rebel soldier who was a prisoner at Fort Delaware.
It seems the prisoner’s aunt had come to Washington to seek Lincoln’s help to allow her nephew to take the oath of allegiance to the U.S., and to be released. The soft-hearted president sent this woman to Stanton after advising him to approve her request.
The second message to Stanton had to do with two people being held in Old Capital Prison, located at the time where the Supreme Court Building now stands in Washington, D.C. Lincoln apparently was considering the possibility of treating both of them leniently or releasing them, because he told Stanton, “I would like to have a statement of each case.”
The third item for the Secretary, and the last communication from Lincoln for the day, was about the appointment of Maj. Aaron Seeley of the New York National Guard to a position in the U.S. army. The president endorsed this essentially political act by telling Stanton, “I am quite satisfied to have it done.”
Through a review of this correspondence, we are able to observe how Abraham Lincoln demonstrated his political acumen, military judgment and innate humanity, all in a single day’s work. He continued in the same vein for the next 19 months, before his assassination on April 14, 1865, when Stanton reportedly commented, “Now he belongs to the ages.”
Tom Ryan is the author of the multiple award-winning “Spies, Scouts & Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign” and “Essays on Delaware during the Civil War.” Signed copies are available at Bethany Beach Books and Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him at email@example.com or visit his website at www.tomryan-civilwar.com.
West Cottage, c. 1934
Originally built by Olive West, a granddaughter of George H. West, the West Cottage was lovingly remodeled 10 years ago in keeping with the expert craftsmanship of its ancestor.
The two-story, 3 bedroom traditional colonial, is located on a large lot overlooking the Ocean View Town Park. For many years, the home served as a guest house, like today’s bed-and-breakfast inns, and current owner George W. Hermance, possesses a 1936 guest book naming some of the depression day lodgers.
While owner Hermance purchased the house furnished just a few weeks ago, his artistic eye and training as a landscape architect attracted him to this classic home and sizeable grounds. Tour-goers will be able to see a black-and-white photo of the original home, the guest book, original paintings by its current owner, and idyllic views from the home’s big windows and decks.
Limited tickets for the 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Oct. 7, Coastal Towns Historic Homes Tour are on sale at the Ellen Rice Gallery, Rt. 26, Ocean View; at Made By Hand, Rt. 1, South Bethany; and at www.ovhistoricalsociety.org. Tickets are $20 for OVHS members and $30 for future members. Proceeds benefit the evolving Coastal Towns Museum and Hall’s Store Visitor and Education Center.
Enough with the cars — try seeing Sussex County by bike.
The fourth annual Tour de Sussex returns on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 8 a.m., rain or shine. It’s sponsored by Delaware Technical Community College. Proceeds will provide scholarships for Workforce Development students.
All routes start and end at DTCC’s Stephen J. Betze Library parking lot. Cyclists can choose a route of 25, 50, 62 or 100 miles, with rest stops, restrooms, beverages and snacks throughout the ride. Sights include the towns of Georgetown, Milton, Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Laurel.
After the ride, participants are invited back to the college for a free lunch provided by local restaurants.
Registration includes long-sleeve tech shirt, lunch, maps and rest stop refreshments. A Support and Gear (SAG) vehicle will be present, in case of emergencies.
Registration is still available that day for $75, with discounts for teams of six and ages 16 and under.
DTCC Owens Campus is located at 21179 College Drive, Georgetown.
For details, call (302) 259-6342 or visit www.tourdesussex.com.
Band cards are back!
For the new school year, Indian River High School Band Boosters have printed a new batch of discount band cards, which are available for $10 each.
People can show their card for discounts at about 35 area businesses, for pizza, fine dining, movies, music, pet shops, flowers, towing, toys, bowling and more. The card is good until Sept. 30, 2018.
Cards purchased directly from a band student or family will directly benefit that student’s band trip account.
“It is our main fundraiser,” said band booster Lisa Bird. “We basically cover the printing of the cards, so all of the money … goes directly to the kids.”
Anyone who doesn’t directly know a band family can contact the IRHS Band Boosters to be directed to a student.
“We are fortunate to have such talented young people representing Indian River High School,” said band parent Jaclyn Hills. “What better way to show your support?”
Every spring, the music department takes a major school trip to perform in a festival or music workshop, having traveled to major cities up and down the Eastern seaboard. This year, they’ll visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland, Ohio.
“Some of these kids cannot afford to go out and take a trip on their own,” but selling band cards is a great way for families to help each other, said Hills.
Decked out in green and gold, the IR band is a popular hit at football games and local Halloween, Christmas and Return Day parades.
“I highly recommend anybody who’s not seem the band in the last few years to come to a home game,” said band director Nathan Mohler. “The kids are putting a lot of work into this performance.”
This year’s field show concept is simply called “The Show,” stretching from classic rock to Cirque du Soleil, then musical theatre and a Spanish composition.
The Woodlands of Pepper’s Creek property owners attended this week’s Dagsboro Town Council meeting to voice their concerns related to developer Fernmoor Homes renting out properties within the community.
Dina Mach, president of the Home Owners Association, said she first learned the developer was planning on renting out homes in the community after seeing an advertisement on Facebook. When she inquired regarding the rentals, she was informed they would be renting eight homes under construction and their model. Another homeowner who inquired was told two of the properties were already leased, effective Oct. 1.
“Of course, all of us homeowners were taken completely by surprise,” she said. “We’ve very concerned this is going to decrease the value of our homes, make it very difficult for any of us to sell any of our homes because of the stringent mortgage rules… Not to mention, none of us were led to believe it was going to be living in a rental community, we thought it was going to be an owner-occupied community.”
Mach said the HOA was approaching council to see if they could do anything to help the property owners.
“We believe the council also thought this was going to be an owner-occupied facility,” she said, adding they have been in touch with local Attorney General’s office as well as their attorney. “Doesn’t this change our community makeup to a commercial enterprise because it’s the developer renting out such a large lot of rental units?”
Town Solicitor Rob Witsel said he was not familiar with all the facts and facets of the situation, and therefore did not feel comfortable rendering an opinion to the council that evening.
“The code does not prohibit rental of residential real estate by anyone except for a person who does not have a rental license,” he said, noting he had not looked at the site plan to see if there were any restrictive covenants. “It would seem to me that the only prohibition would be in the developer’s own restrictive covenants.”
“My thinking is, unless there’s some kind of restrictive covenant found in the declaration or condo documents, it probably doesn’t exist and then it’s hard for the town to enforce,” added councilman Bill Chandler.
He recommended the HOA have their attorney look into case law regarding deceptive trade practices claims and the Consumer Fraud Act.
“I’m signaling my own reticence to think that the Town of Dagsboro has in the way of any kind of rule or regulation that could be applicable, even though my sympathies and empathies go to the owners because I think there’s a big difference between owner-managed rental property and someone else managing the rental property.”
The HOA was told to provide documents to the Town for Witsel’s review, and he would render an opinion to council at the October council meeting.
The Big Chill Beach Club will be the site of the annual Brews By the Bay fundraiser this year.
Set for Saturday, Sept. 23, the Delaware Brewers Guild event will host all of the state’s breweries, which this year will be serving primarily small-batch beers and cask-conditioned beers. This will be an opportunity to taste some rare brews, as very few of these beers have ever left the breweries where they are produced.
A firkin tent will feature cask conditioned ales that are tapped every 15 minutes, with more than 16 unique beers being tapped over the course of the day, according to guild spokesperson Lauren Bigelow. In all, 50 different beers will be offered for tasting during the Brews by the Bay event. (Firkins, for craft brew newbies, are small wooden or metal casks.)
In addition, patrons will get a chance to taste a uniquely Delaware beer at Brews by the Bay. In celebration of Delaware’s state dessert, peach pie, members of the guild collaboratively brewed a peach wheat-style beer.
To go with all the tasty beers, Taco Reho and Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli food trucks will be on hand with an array of beer-worthy foods.
For this year’s Brews By the Bay, the brewers’ guild has brought in the Federal Street Band and Clifford Keith, both of which have a strong southern Delaware fan base. The bands will be playing on the Big Chill’s beach patio.
“This is one of Delaware’s premier beer festivals and we are thrilled to be holding it at Big Chill Beach Club this year. We think that our attendees will enjoy the changes and tweaks we’ve made this year,” said guild president John Klein.
The Delaware Brewers Guild is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization that exists to unify the Delaware brewing community. Proceeds from Brews by the Bay help the guild to represent itself in government and community affairs and promote Delaware’s breweries. The guild’s members include 17 breweries in all three Delaware counties.
The festival will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. Entry to the event is $50 and includes parking — or $45 for those who have state park passes. Unlimited beer samples are included in the cost of admission. The Big Chill Beach Club is located on the ocean side of Route 1 next to the Indian River Inlet Bridge. For more information, visit delawarebrewersguild.org.
The Sussex County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend their lease of the James Farm Ecological Preserve to the Center for the Inland Bays.
The 150-acre property, located on Cedar Neck Road just outside of Ocean View, offers visitors the change to enjoy seven different distinct habitats, walking trails and beach.
The CIB first leased James Farm in 1998, and in 2014 a Master Plan was completed, detailing specific improvements to be constructed at the site, to accommodate the expansive growth in site visitation being experienced.
“As those ocean beaches fill up more and more, people are looking for a quieter way to experience the water and nature and they do come to the farm,” said CIB Executive Director Chris Bason.
The centerpiece of the farm however, said Bason, is the educational piece.
“This last full school season we were able to educate a record 1,300 seventh- and eighth-graders from the Indian River School District. It was our best year ever and we feel really good about that.”
The design, engineering, and permitting work for the first phase of the project was completed last month, and the CIB is actively seeking funding for construction.
Bason said the first phase would focus on the “gateway entry to the farm.”
“Right now parking is inadequate. Entryway and exit from the farm is unsafe because we’ve got so many more people coming in. So, this first phase of improvements will create a new parking area which can handle up to 27 cars. Plus, we’ll have our own special spots for school buses.”
The CIB is pursing joint fundraising opportunities — working with various public and private entities.
“We’ve also applied for a $500,000 grant from the Longwood Foundation and we expect to be hearing back from them fairly soon.”
He added the CIB is working to increase visitor and private donations.
Council voted 5-0 to approve a 20-year term occupancy agreement, with automatic renewal for two subsequent five-year terms is being made. The CIB will pay the County $1 each year.
Council also voted unanimously to submit a request to DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation, Parts and Trails program for a 50 percent matching grant for $20,0000 to finance Phase I.
In other County news:
• County Council unanimously approved a request to rename the portion of land in Summertime Park north of Fenwick Island “Oliver’s Point” after Oliver W. Cropper.
This is a unique request,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson. “Mr. Cropper spent his life supporting the Fenwick Island Lighthouse and adjoining lighthouse keepers’ houses. Mr. Cropper died in 2011 and in recognition of his services, a portion of land in Summertime Park that extends into Assawoman Bay is being named ‘Oliver’s Point’ in his honor.”
Lawson said the U.S. Board of Geographic Names requires a person to be deceased at least five years before an area can be named in their honor, and also requires the approval of the local jurisdiction before a geographic area can be renamed.
In 2007, the State Senate passed a Joint Resolution honoring Cropper and approving the installation of a suitable state marker identifying Oliver’s Point.
• Bud Rickards retired from the Sussex County Board of Adjustment after spending five years and nine months serving the county.
Cole nominated local custom builder Bruce Mears, to serve as Rickards’ replacement, Lawson said he would follow up with standard questions and place his public interview on a future council agenda.
Local Girl Scout troops are hosting “Small Town, Big Heroes” on Saturday, Sept. 23 as a unique way to offer safety information for families and to pay tribute to the “everyday heroes” – police officers, firefighters and other public safety officials.
“Small Town, Big Heroes” will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday at the Millsboro Little League Fields, according to Crystal Wheatley, event coordinator for Girl Scouts Area 14, which encompasses the Indian River School District.
Wheatley said the idea came from a program in urban areas where police officers ride around in a truck and deliver ice cream to children. Along with her husband, Barry, who happens to be a sergeant in the Millsboro Police Department, Wheatley came up with a way to achieve similar interaction in a more rural area.
As a day care operator, Wheatley said children’s safety is always on her mind. Since the Girl Scouts’ theme this year is super heroes, with that theme in mind, “Small Town Big Heroes” came to involve a number of public safety agencies, including Millsboro police, Delaware State Police mounted patrol and helicopter, Delaware National Guard, the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Department of Corrections and the Millsboro Fire Co.
Participants can have their pictures taken with local “heroes” and can make their own super hero masks, plus more games and activities.
Wheatley said the event is a chance for children to interact with police officers, firefighters and others who they might someday encounter in an emergency, “in a setting that isn’t scary, that isn’t intimidating.”
The Good Ole Boy Foundation has provided free ice cream which will be distributed by police officers. Girl Scout Service Unit 14 invites you to come meet our local heroes: DSP, DSPs helicopter, DSPs mounted patrol, Millsboro Police, Millsboro Fire Co, National Guard, DNREC, Department of Corrections, free ice cream from The Good Ole Boy Foundation, plus free crafts and games!!! Hope to see all of you there with your friends and family!!!
“Small Town, Big Heroes” will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Millsboro Little League Ball Park. The ball park is located at 262 W. State Street, Millsboro.
The Ocean View Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating Brent Cierkowski, 26, of Ocean View, in connection with lawn-ornament thefts in the area.
“They’re stealing whatever’s not tied down, unfortunately. And, it’s something they’ve been able to take to yard sales and flea markets and other locations and sell them readily,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin.
Cierkowski, who is still wanted by police, has warrants charging him with two counts of theft under $1,500 where the victim is 62 year of age or older, two counts of theft under $1,500, three counts of trespass 3rd, one count of conspiracy 2nd, and two counts of conspiracy 3rd.
“Some of these lawn ornaments had some value. They were the concrete-type lawn ornaments. You see these concrete benches, things like that,” said McLaughlin.
Identifying Cierkowski, along with Andrew C. Desmond Jr, 34, of Bethany Beach, was the result of follow-up interviews related to the theft investigations in which two other suspects were arrested earlier this summer.
Desmond had warrants approved charging him with two counts of theft under $1,500, one count of conspiracy 2nd, and three counts of trespass 3rd. Desmond was arrested by Delaware State Police and was arraigned at the Justice of the Peace Court, where he was released on unsecured bond.
McLaughlin said these types of crimes are difficult for citizens to avoid due to their nature.
“It’s an awareness thing. Be aware. If you do see anything suspicious, contact the police department. The only other defense is to bring everything in at night, and when you’re talking about one of these concrete benches that weighs 70-some pounds, it’s really not practical for most people,” he said.
McLaughlin believes these types of crimes are related to the drug epidemic that is plaguing the town, county, state, country and world.
“They’re stealing these items so they can swap them for some quick cash to purchase narcotics,” he said. “There’s a slew of flea-market-type stores on the 113 corridors between Selbyville and Dagsboro — some of the items were recovered there. Again, they’re taking them to sell for $10, $20 and get some quick cash.”
To avoid purchasing potentially stolen goods, McLaughlin suggested stopping and considering the deal before buying the items.
“Well, if you see a deal that’s too good to be true… If it’s something that would normally be a $200 item and somebody is trying to sell it to you for $25, there’s a chance that it may be stolen.”
Once Cierkowski is arrested, McLaughlin said the investigation of the summer lawn ornament thefts will be closed for those thefts in Ocean View. He noted, however that there may be some thefts outside of the Town’s jurisdiction to which he cannot speak.
“I’m sure there were other items taken outside of the town limits in the jurisdiction of the state police. If there’s anybody else out there, if they call in Ocean View call us, or if they live outside of town, they should report it to the State Police Troop 4.”
He stressed the department hopes the public will help them locate Cierkowski.
“He’s currently wanted by the Ocean View Police Department. If anybody knows where he is, we’d like to know about it.”
Those have any information regarding Cierkowski’s location are asked to please contact the Ocean View Police at (302) 539-1111 or Det. Alan Bluto at Delaware State Police Troop 4, at (302) 856-5850.
Residents of Millville by the Sea should be looking for an email survey soon, regarding traffic in the community. The developer needs public input for traffic issues before moving forward with the next MBTS neighborhood.
In August, the Millville Town Council instructed the developer and master homeowner association to compromise on traffic calming plan for Sand Dollar Village. This condition is holding up approvals for Section 1 of Sea Star Village, although the villages overall preliminary site plan was approved in March of 2016.
“The developer is concerned about traffic safety within the community, and we are committed to a [traffic plan all MBTS owners can support],” said Frawn Morgan of LDC Advisors.
“We are in the process of designing that survey now and expect to deploy that in the next few weeks,” Morgan told town council on Sept. 12.
They’ve hired a community research expert to help. Although the traffic control measures might only be in a few places, the roads will be owned by the entire property owners’ association. So all 382 existing residences in the neighborhood will be surveyed. Surveys will be emailed, and each residence gets one vote. They will also poll the eight homes still under contract, although those will be identified separately in the final report.
The goal is to finish by the Oct. 10 Millville Town Council meeting.
“We can let the community know we’re looking for a quick response so we can move forward on this … I want this to be done, but I want to make sure we approach this sensibly,” said Morgan.
She reminded the group that all neighborhoods will have to pay for this. In other communities, she’s seen the people ask the developer to remove traffic control items, so she wants to ensure everyone is on-board.
Town Council unanimously approved an extension for this project, 3-0 (with Steve Maneri recusing himself and Susan Brewer absent).
But residents want more action to happen now. They said they’ve identified the problem: speed and volume.
In fact, the residents have already polled themselves in Sand Dollar Village. About 138 responses came from the 240 residents polled (out of 250 residents total), according to Wally Bartus.
Generally, about 95 people voted for some traffic control, like speed humps or radar. About 43 voted against.
Conversation will continue in October.
In other Millville news:
• Town park plans are going so slowly that the Great Pumpkin Festival was canceled this year.
Delaware Department of Transportation has nearly approved the entrance plans, which has taken far longer than expected. Maneri hopes to move forward in November, pending permits.
“The permits have been killing us. But once we get the permits, I think it’s going to go in very quick,” said Maneri.
He hopes the first phase is complete in spring of 2017, with parking lot and playground equipment. Phase 2 is the recreation building, trail and exercise stations. Phase 3 would finish the project with stage and pickleball courts.
The council unanimously approved a proposal for George, Miles & Buhr, LLC (GMB) to manage bidding services for the park, for about $12,500.
Town staff “are not qualified to do this type of work,” said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.
GMB is already being paid for other services, including project design. Now, GMB will also prepare all bidding paperwork before construction begins.
Projects will probably bid out in two contracts: site work and actual building.
• Millville had another good financial audit.
Herb Geary of TGM Group, LLC, gave the town an “unmodified” opinion of their Fiscal Year 2017 finances, which is the highest opinion he can give. This is a reflection of the books, meaning the town kept accurate representation of its dealings.
Despite the town’s plentiful coffers, the Town received its usual rebuke at having so few people overseeing so much money. Although Geary complimented the staff for putting using other controls to counterbalance the lack of manpower.
Town Council’s next workshop is Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.
After a recent annexation, the Town of Millville is about 31 acres bigger and could someday be 95 houses heavier.
On Sept. 12, Millville Town Council approved annexation of 31.32 acres on Windmill Drive and Dukes Drive.
As is, the owners (Howard Robert Hickman Revocable Trust) could probably build whatever they’d like as an unincorporated county property. But when they began that process, the County suggested engineer Phillip Tolliver of Morris & Ritchie Associates, Inc., approach Millville to consider annexation.
That will give the Town more power on whether to approve the subdivision or site plan phases.
“It seemed to make sense to be contiguous. There’s a town park that’s being built next door to the site,” Tolliver said of the Dukes Drive playground. Plus, the county is planning a very nearby pump station, and the Tidewater main is directly in front of the site.
“We’re only proposing 92 to 94 single-family lots, so we’re well below what the county envisioned this being developed as,” he said.
The neighborhood, tentatively called Peregrine Bay, would include a wooded buffer along the tax ditch, small clubhouse and pool. The small existing cemetery would be left undisturbed, but buffered or blocked off.
“The builder has not been officially determined, but right now we’re leaning toward a more upscale community instead of an entry-level community,” Tolliver said.
But several neighbors were concerned about the recent felling of nearby trees and cluttering of the tax ditch, with rain and debris.
Town Council touted the advantages to town and voted unanimously (with Susan Brewer absent) to accept the annexation.
“Welcome to Millville,” said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.
The land (Sussex County Tax Map parcels 134-12.00-394.00 and 134-12.00-394.04) was also rezoned from Sussex County’s AR-Agricultural to Millville’s R-Residential District.